Readers’ wildlife photos

Keep those photos coming in, folks. I have a fair few, but can always use more. (And don’t forget to include the Latin binomial.)

Reader Roger Sorensen sent some photos of birds feeding their offspring:

Here are some photos of birds tending to the noms for their young.
Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus. Over in the crabapple snag, Black-capped Chickadees were nesting. It was quite common to see caterpillars go in and fecal sacs go out.


Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis. Early this past spring I began hearing the unmistakable call of the Gray Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis, in my back yard [JAC: you can hear their songs here.] Sure enough, I soon began spotting them darting about in the shrubs and woodpile. Eventually I tracked down the nest to a large burning bush (Euonymous sp.) next to my driveway. I would often spot one the other adults with mayflies and other less identifiable morsels. Later on, the fledglings would emerge from that tree shaking their wings (appetitive behavior) as the parents came back with the grub.




A hungry fledgling:




  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Nice work

  2. rickflick
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The chickadee carrying the fecal sac out of the nest is an interesting sight. It’s produced by the chick and consists of a membrane to hold the feces so that the parent can more easily keep the nest clean. It’s a remarkable “invention”. It sure beats diapers.

    • Dominic
      Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Imagine eating your offspring’s sac as some birds do it seems!?!

      • rickflick
        Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        But, humans are a unique species. Ever hear of an omelet?

  3. Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Very nice! We love our chickadees and cat birds too.

  4. Christopher
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Great pics! Nice to see another overlooked bird getting some attention. Most people have no idea what a catbird is (and they probably don’t remember the cartoon Cat-Dog, either) but they are quite beautiful with their grey and black, with a bit of rufous brown on their bums.

    and how lucky to spot a chickadee nest! I’ve only seen one, unfortunately it was at my work, so I couldn’t keep much of and eye on it.

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Very good! I love the recording of the catbird calls, as they produce a huge variety of chirps and glurks and tweets.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Lovely pics! And I didn’t know about faecal sacs before. Very cool.

  7. Michael Scullin
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    When I have found catbird nests in the yard they are often in lilac clumps and adorned with scrapes of plastic.

    Baby grackles make fecal sacs and the adults carry them off to be dumped in a pond, My wife and I painted a large deck a bluish/gray and by the next day it was the repository for numerous grackle offerings from the grackles living in the neighbors’ spruce trees.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 22, 2016 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      I was gonna say, grackles prefer to drop their fecal sacs on our deck. Similarly, during mulberry season, they like to defecate over the same place. We mark the changing of the seasons by when the deck polka dots go from white blobs to large purple splashes.


  8. Diane G.
    Posted December 22, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Great captures of chickadee behavior!

    And I love the catbird series–one of my favorite species. One year a male took up residence in a thick clump of brush in our backyard and sang lustily at night–such a treat!

    And I love the way they’re often more curious than timid when you run across them.

    All three of the US mimic thrushes are very cool, if you ask me. For non-birders, the other two are the Northern Mockingbird and the Brown Thrasher. Oh, and btw, they’re not thrushes. 😉 )

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